How to Draw and Paint Fairies

Updated April 17, 2017

Fairies are magical creatures who live in enchanted woods, and the fascination with them has existed since ancient times. Fairies are popular subject matter in fantasy art, and they are easy to create by following a few simple steps for learning basic drawing and painting techniques. Learning to draw and paint fairies is a fun art project where you can create your own adorable fairy paintings in any styles or colours you like.

Locate photos of a child and butterflies to use for reference.

Referring to your photo of a child, sketch the head on your canvas with the graphite pencil. Pay attention to the shape and position of the head.

Draw the eyes, nose and mouth. Don't worry about being exact. Fairies can have exaggerated features, such as very large eyes or very small lips. Draw the outline of the hair, and if ears are showing draw them longer and pointier like elf ears. Remember: Facial features are simply shapes. Notice the size and proportion of the shapes in relation to one another when drawing the face.

Draw the body of the fairy, keeping it simple. Fairies tend to have exaggerated features in their faces, but the bodies are more delicate and simplistic. Sketch a rough outline of the shapes of the body, starting with the neck and shoulders and moving towards the feet.

Draw the wings on the fairy, using photos of butterflies for reference. Make sure the wings sit in the centre of the back, and then draw any shape of fairy wings you like.

Mix your acrylic paints for the skin, hair, clothing and wing colours of the fairy on your paint palette.

Paint the fairy, using different sized paint brushes -- use larger brushes for large areas and smaller brushes for the finer details. Paint the skin, hair, clothing and then the wings of the fairy. Paint the lightest layers first and then add darker colours for shaded areas. Add layers of paint, letting each layer dry in between.

Paint the final details such as eyebrows, eyelashes, hair and the details in the wings.


You can select any colours of acrylic paints, depending on whether you want a cute pastel [soft coloured] pixie or a vibrant [brighter coloured] pixie. Buy paint colors for the skin tone, hair, clothing and wings. You may use watercolour paints if you have them on hand already, but beginners and children may find them tricky to use. Most often watercolour is used on special art paper, not canvas. It can be harder to correct your mistakes with watercolour. Acrylics let you go from dark to light, which is not easy to do with watercolour. You can be very flexible when drawing fairies. Drawing them in a super-realistic way is not necessary. For example, exaggerated features in the face, heads larger than their bodies and very large wings are fun details that give fairies their fantasy quality. When painting skin tones, consider that lighter flesh tones (for any race) are typically used when painting children to give a more youthful appearance. With a paint brush, dab some of your lightest paint colours over darker areas to add depth. Use a jar for water to rinse your paint brushes. Blot off excess water with paper towels.

Things You'll Need

  • Photo of a child
  • Photos of butterflies
  • Art canvas
  • Graphite drawing pencil
  • Artist's acrylic paints
  • Paint brushes
  • Paint palette
  • Jar
  • Paper towels
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About the Author

Erika Marie started writing in 1996 and has covered a variety of topics, including arts, crafts, and home and garden. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in art from Rowan University.